Steamboat explores possible locations for new downtown fire station
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Though it hasn’t developed a plan to provide long-term funding for Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, the city of Steamboat Springs is working to determine the best location for a new, larger fire station to replace the existing downtown station.
Independent of last year’s discussion of including the city within the surrounding fire district, the city set out to determine where to build a new station. Steamboat Fire Rescue’s most recent strategic plan calls for two new fire stations by 2025. One would replace the existing fire station in downtown Steamboat, and a second station is planned for the west side of town.
“We just need more space to be able to do what we do,” Steamboat Fire Rescue Chief Mel Stewart said.
Stewart said Steamboat Fire Rescue hopes to expand its staff to meet the increasing demand for emergency services. But more emergency personnel will need more living and training spaces. Steamboat Fire Rescue administration also would move from the Mountain Station to a new downtown station.
In September, the city convened a citizens’ focus group, and professionals including city staff and emergency services personnel joined together to explore proposed locations for a new fire station.
The committee recommended two sites for further study: the lot that currently houses the Steamboat Springs Police Department on Yampa Street and the lot north of Bud Werner Memorial Library at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue. Steamboat Springs City Council elected to conduct an in-depth site analysis at these two locations.
Council members Jason Lacy and Heather Sloop were absent from the meeting, and the remaining council members wanted to discuss a third site — the lot at 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue that currently houses city hall and a public parking lot — when more members were in attendance.
Council members also wanted to dust off a prior analysis that considered building a fire station near Stockbridge Transit Center.
When selecting the proposed sites, the committee sought areas central to Steamboat to maintain a coverage area that allows a four-minute response time to most parts of the city.
Current plans call for a two-story building that would allow for expanded living quarters, equipment space and training and administration facilities. The proposed station would be twice the size of the Mountain Station, the larger of the two existing fire stations.
According to the agency’s strategic plan, Steamboat Fire Rescue leadership hopes to have a new central station built in 2021 and begin designing a fire station west of city limits in 2022.
As of now, no funding source has been identified to pay for construction of a new building. A citizens’ committee to address funding for fire and emergency services is set to start meeting in the coming months.
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